In athletic competition, muscle contusion injury is a frequent and debilitating condition. Found in traditional contact and noncontact sports, contusions also can occur to the nonathlete by simple falls and accidents. The injury consists of a well-defined sequence of events involving microscopic rupture and damage to muscle cells, macroscopic defects in muscle bellies, infiltrative bleeding, and inflammation. The repair of the tissue can be thought of as a race between remodeling and scar formation. In the current study, the authors describe the relevant body of research directed at delineating the incidence, factors that affect injury severity, and treatment of muscle contusion injury. Emphasis is given to animal models that allow reproducible, quantitative injury, and study of the effects of various treatment modalities. Myositis ossificans traumatica, one of the most debilitating consequences of contusion injuries, also is discussed. The incidence, causative factors, and prevention strategies are reviewed.

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